The Malawi Police Service through its Inspector General has condemned barbaric acts and killings targeting elderly persons and suspected criminals in the country.
The disapproval follows a recent incident that took place in Neno district where four elderly persons were killed after residents claimed that the deceased sent a lightning that killed a girl through witchcraft.
In a statement signed by national public relations officer, Nicholas Gondwa, the law enforcers say killing of suspected criminals popularly known as mob justice is illegal and should not be tolerated in a peaceful country like Malawi saying every person has right to life as stipulated in section 16 of the country’s Constitution.
The police further say that only recognised institutions that administer justice are the competent courts of law who hear from both the aggrieved party and the accused side, not through mob injustice.
“The police experience is that a month cannot go without hearing that a certain old man or woman has been killed by angry mob on suspicions that he/she has bewitched someone to death. A typical example is the recent Neno murder where four elderly persons were killed on allegation that they sent lightning that killed a 17-year-old-girl through witchcraft. As police we would like to emphasize that the current laws of Malawi do not recognize witchcraft and that calling a person a witch is an offence”, reads part of the statement.
Police described what people of Neno did as arbitrary deprivation of a person’s life and they say they have since moved swiftly to arrest all perpetrators of this gruesome murder. The law enforcers have promised speedy prosecution of the case.
The law enforcers have also advised citizens that whenever they feel wronged, they should report to police and other relevant authorities for action rather than taking the law into our own hands.
“You cannot be a complainant yourself and a judge of your own case at the same time,” police say.
The Malawi Police have since warned that they will pounce on any person who shall victimise innocent elderly persons and suspects of crime in the country and those who will be found will be charged of murder under Section 209 of the Penal Code.